Blackbirds and Orioles: Western Meadowlark

  • 20 - 28 cm in length. Sexes appear similar.
  • Upperparts buff-brown, variably streaked and spotted.
  • Throat and breast are bright yellow, crossed by a distinguishing black "V".
  • Bill relatively long and pointed.
  • In flight, its short, wide tail shows conspicuous white patches on either side.
  • Similar to the Eastern Meadowlark, except it has paler upperparts and its yellow throat extends onto its cheeks.
  • Often seen sitting on fence posts on the prairies and grassy plains, singing its easily recognizable song.


Western Meadowlarks breed on meadows, plains and prairies from B.C. to the Great Lakes region, including southern Manitoba. They also breed across most of the U.S., except in the eastern and Gulf Coast regions. Resident populations exist in the western and central U.S. Manitoba’s birds winter in the southern U.S. and Mexico. Their range is beginning to expand east of the Great Lakes as forests are removed in eastern North America.

Manitoba Museum of Man and Nature

© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.

Teachers' Centre Home Page | Find Learning Resources & Lesson Plans